The three-day, two-night, expense-paid getaway took place March 30 through April 1 in Ventura County's most unique and vibrant cities: Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura. The nine winning couples were accompanied by KABC-AM on-air personalities Terri-Rae Elmer and Peter Tilden and KABC news anchor Debra Mark.
"It's being on vacation in less than an hour," says Tilden, who has been visiting the area for years. "Your RPMs immediately go down. There are so many little iconic restaurants to try. You don't have to go far for a complete change of scenery. It's a high-end, yet economical getaway."
The weekend started with a delicious feast at Safire Bistro in Camarillo, which is one of the many hidden gems in VenturaCountyWest and one that got rave reviews from virtually everyone--even those who professed to be picky. The next day, the group enjoyed a morning boat ride courtesy of Island Packers to Anacapa Island. "We saw dolphins and seals. It was wonderful," says Frank Pellegrino, contest winner from North Hollywood. 'We've been to Ventura before, but never to the Channel Islands."
The group disembarked on the island and went on a 90-minute hike to take in the vistas at Cathedral Cove and Inspiration Point.
Winners stayed in ocean suites at Ventura's Crowne Plaza Hotel and traveled to destinations courtesy of Roadrunner Shuttle. Saturday dinner was at The Greek in Ventura Harbor Village. "I was 'forced' to dance with the belly dancers," laughed Bill Lane, another contest winner. "We had a great time and ate foods we've never eaten. We were surprised at how many exceptional shops and restaurants there are in downtown Ventura."
Sunday, April 1 was spent enjoying a tour, wine tasting and lunch at the 77,000 square foot Herzog Wine Cellars and Tierra Sur in Oxnard. After a chance to see the bottling process and the 2,000 American and French oak barrels where the wine is stored and aged, winners chatted amicably about their weekend as they tasted up to eight varietals of Herzog wines
"We always drive right by Ventura heading to Santa Barbara or Carmel," says contest winner Sean Bolding. "Our biggest surprise is that such a great place like this is here and so close. I was born and raised in Southern California and have never taken advantage of the area. You feel like you're far from home, but you're really very close. We'll definitely be back."
Dave and Linda took the train to Ventura County West from Fullerton. "The area is comparable to Santa Barbara. There is plenty to do and it's not yet commercialized,"
For Rick and Jacqueline Farkas from Thousand Oaks, the drive to Ventura County West was only 20 minutes. "For me, I'd rather spend money on doing fun things than on gas," says Jacqueline Farkas. "With five kids, we don't get away that much. We were so close to home but still felt we were on vacation. We will have to bring our kids to see Anacapa Island. It was fantastic."
"People who come to Ventura County West for the first time are always surprised at the variety of restaurants and lodging options, the number of wineries and breweries, the abundance of cultural events and the breathtaking natural surroundings of the area," says Victor Dollar, general manager of the Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort and chair of the Ventura County Lodging Association. "Each city in VenturaCountyWest, Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura, is distinctly different and waiting to be explored."
For more information, go to www.VenturaCountyWest.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/
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Ventura County Lodging Association (VCLA)
The Ventura County Lodging Association (VCLA) is comprised of lodging facilities and destination marketing organizations in the California cities of Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura. VCLA represents 61 members including hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, RV Resorts, resort rentals, the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau and Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau. Its marketing campaign, "VenturaCountyWest, Inspiring Choices," is designed to attract overnight leisure and business visitors to the region. www.venturacountywest.com www.facebook.com/